About the learning approach

The problem

A new driver's risk of being harmed in a crash increases around 20 to 30 times from the moment they get their Ps and start driving on their own. While on their Ls, on the other hand, they are in the safest category of road users; L-platers are harmed less than any other group.

In the time it takes to sit and pass a provisional licence test – less than an hour – learner drivers move from being statistically the safest drivers on the road to the most at risk.

Why the increased risk?

Newly-licensed drivers are vulnerable for two main reasons:

  • While learning, they are guided and protected from harm by their supervisors and instructors. In the process, they are often protected from experiencing the responsibilities that come with choice.
  • After they are licensed, learner drivers face a range of situations they’ve never experienced. Suddenly, they’re alone, with little training in how to adapt to new difficulties.

Our challenge is to provide a learning approach that is more real, more comprehensive and more attuned to the reality of licensed driving.

The Keys2drive solution - a new learning experience

Keys2drive encourages a more thorough learning experience; one that is: 

  • Longer - providing more hours behind the wheel
  • Wider - experiencing a greater variety of driving challenges, in all conditions
  • Deeper - gaining a greater understanding of the psychological, emotional and mental challenges involved, and the true responsibility that each driver holds

Keys2drive does not replace existing driver training; instead, the program complements other learning programs. We do this by advising new drivers how best to approach the learning process and take control of their own learning, encouraging them to 'Find Their Own Way'. It may sound like a risky message, but it makes sense to teach them these skills before they have to find their way alone as a P-plater.

The typical approach of driving instructors and parents/supervisors is to tell learners what they think they need to know and do - “I know best, do it my way”. Understandably, they want to feel in control, but this often leads to them being controlling. This is the exact opposite of Find Your Own Way.

The find your own way approach does not in any way devalue the importance of basic driving skills and procedures; it simply operates on the principle that learning these skills by just being told doesn’t have the same meaning as learning through self-discovery. Here, learning always finishes with more questions – it’s open-ended – and passing the driving test licenses the learner driver to continue finding their own way on their own.

Learners learn to self-manage

Find your own way relies on the parent/supervisor and driving instructor allowing themselves to ‘let go’ and be a source of information and support rather than the experts and knowledge keepers – to feel in control without being controlling. In this setting, successful teaching and supervision can be measured through the quality of conversation about driving, and the way the learner driver uses their passenger (driving instructor or parent/supervisor) as a resource. Here, the learner driver’s brain is having to work hard; learning is more meaningful – it’s not passive and meaningless.

The ability to find your own way is mostly a mental skill; essentially, we are teaching what psychologists refer to as 'metacognition' – thinking about one’s thinking. Our teaching task is to help learner drivers learn to manage themselves ‘from above’ through the eyes of an assessor, driving instructor, and parent/supervisor.

Learning resources

In the Keys2drive program, metacognitive skills are communicated in both obvious and subtle ways and integrated into most of the learning resources.

The Keys2drive free lesson is more explicit; during this lesson the driving instructor explains what it means to self-assess, self-instruct and self-supervise, and the lesson can include a practical demonstration of these skills being used and taught.

The Supervisor’s Guide – the primary resource on the Keys2drive site for parents/supervisors – communicates the messages in its own way, advising support, not control, and to discuss, not lecture.

Keys2drive is an Australian Government-funded program providing learner drivers and their parents/supervisors a free driving lesson with a Keys2drive accredited professional driving instructor